A challenging first outing for the Students against Carlton on the weekend, as only the Third XI managed to bring any points back to the Pavvy. That said, it wasn’t without highlights – including a frenchman winning Player of the Week, an Italian stallion spinning a web and a towering debut performance…
As the First XI arrived at Princes Park on Saturday, the initial challenge was managing a spot in the change rooms. Limited to four at a time, players scrambled for a seat. No one told James McNeil, however, who happily set up swag, Esky and billycan on the boundary’s edge.
Losing the toss and batting first, the Students were confident that in rapidly improving batting conditions and with a strong line-up, that they could post a winning score. After running his way through lockdown, opening batsman Jarrod Martignago stopped running – preferring to hit the ball to the boundary as he made 23 at a run-a-ball. That was largely the story for Uni, as the middle order all got starts, but were unable to go on and make a big score. Yaksender (34), McNeil (22), Croes (39) and Scammell (29) all looked exceptional and scored at a good rate, but without one of the top six batting through, it was always going to be tough to post a big score. On debut, Simon Mackin was composed at number nine, making an invaluable 24 to help haul the score in excess of 200; Uni eventually bowled out for 219.
In the face of an initial onslaught from the Blues openers, Uni remained calm and when Mackin removed Gulbis for his first MUCC wicket, it took a great deal of COVID-safe restraint from his new teammates not to give him a big cuddle. It was Mackin and Ahmed who went to work through the back-end of the power play and through the middle which helped stall Carlton’s momentum, giving the Students every chance. Mackin bowled exceptionally well, extracting something from the wicket where there looked to be nothing there, eventually finishing with 3/50. A fine debut, he combined with Fawad (1/38) for all four of Carlton’s wickets.
Carlton eventually chasing Uni down in the 45th over, the Students were simply 40 runs short on the weekend. With plenty of improvement left in them, the First XI can be confident moving into the rest of the season.
Following the late inclusion of Lachie Pedley (he was released from Mooseheads late on Thursday night), the Second XI boasted 4 debutants. New skipper, Daniel Hutton made the best possible start, winning the toss and electing to bowl on a traditionally fast and bouncy wicket at the Uni Main.
It didn’t take J-Bizzle (yes, self-proclaimed) long to get into the action, claiming the first wicket. It also won’t be the last time we see caught Horn bowled Browning in the scorebook… Though Lachie McKenna and Andrew Poppa batted well for the second wicket, when Ben Rolfs removed McKenna with the score at 108, the Students really found their mojo. Lachie Pedley came on through the middle and claimed his first MUCC wicket, and the spin twins bowled beautifully – Rolfs and Bett each with two wickets apiece. As Uni Managed to restrict the Blues after a promising start, they would have 207 to chase in the afternoon.
Much like the First XI, the Second XI batting order failed to convert starts, leaving the lower order too much work to do in the run chase. Durrant looked promising in his debut as a Second XI opener, and Daniel Hutton (23), James Bett (17) and Ben Rolfs (18) tried to spark something through the middle, but the Students left themselves with too much work to do, eventually bowled out for 147.
Keen to rebound, and also with plenty of room for growth, the Second XI will be after their first win next weekend.
Talent in a side is one thing. Four Trinity Grammar products is another. The Third XI had both on the weekend, playing with a confidence and aggression that assured a comfortable victory.
Batting first at Princes Park #2, opening batsman and master committee member, Jayden Kennedy was in a hurry to put the Blues in their place, blasting 26 from just 17 balls. It was, however, MUCC’s number four who turned the game. Hugo said ‘bienvenu to season 20/21’ to Carlton’s bowlers, as he blasted them to all parts on his way to 76 from just 75 balls. A man who oozes class and style in everything he does, every MUCCer loves it when Hugo gets runs, and his POTW performance went a long way to giving Uni a defendable total. Combining with the nicest man on the face of the planet, Sam Skinner (who maintains this title alongside the equally important captain and wicketkeeper roles) who made 46, the Students were eventually bowled out for 254 from 43 overs.
It didn’t take Uni long to get into their work, as Tom Walker took a break from the books to take the first wicket in his first over, while Angry Molden grabbed his first at the other end not soon after. From then, it was a procession, as the Italian Stallion, Yousaf Iqbal turned them both ways, confusing batsmen and spectators in equal measure, reeling in 4/25 from his eight overs. Player to watch, Dan Mcnab lived up to the title, ‘nabbing’ 2/5 from four overs as Uni bowled out the Blues for less than 100.
A dominant display, the Students can be well pleased with their first outing of the season and will hope to continue their winning form next week.
Still a very young side, but one growing in experience, the Fourth XI bowled first at PP3 in their opening clash of the season.
After a strong opening partnership, it was a run out that got the boys’ wicket column off the mark for season 20/21, always a good indicator moving forward. From there it was Ollie de Stefanis and Om Patel (shock) who locked down through the middle, combining for three Carlton wickets. Ninad Panjwani was the real star of the day, however, as the left arm spinner grabbed 3/34 to restrict Carlton when they looked like getting away. When the innings closed at 9/227, Uni were confident as they prepared to bat on a flat wicket.
Ed Savill made a strong start in his return as a MUCCer, managing 26 at the top of the order to get Uni off to a good start. From there, it was Jonny ‘Pebbles’ Stone who tried to anchor the innings in the middle order. After a big preseason (though he did still forget to buy coloured pads and thus will don the Clads all year) Pebbles, found some nice touch, scoring 32 at better than a run-a-ball. Wicketkeeper, Hayden Lim also managed to strike at better than 100 for his 34. Some late hitting from skipper, Laban Ditchburn (23 off 14) helped push Uni above 200, but they failed to bat their allotted 45 overs, eventually bowled out for 206 in the 43rd.
A tough loss but with plenty of positives to take from it, the Fourth XI are excited to take on Footscray next week.